When Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying
Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs when a baby is shaken. The blood vessels in a baby’s head cannot tolerate the impact of shaking and can break.
- Each year about 1,000 children die from Shaken Baby Syndrome.
- Death, brain damage, mental retardation, seizures, or blindness may result from shaking a baby.
- Shaking usually happens when parents or caregivers become frustrated or angry when they are not able to stop the baby from crying.
- Shaken baby syndrome is 100% preventable.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
Comforting a crying baby: Know when to seek help
If the stress or crying becomes more than you can stand, or if you feel like shaking, hitting or harming your baby in any way, call for help immediately.
In the U.S.:
- 24-Hour Parent Helpline: 1-888-435-7553
- Crying Baby Hotline: 1-866-243-2229
- Fussy Baby Warmline: 1-888-431-BABY
In the UK:
- Parentline: 0808 800 2222
- Parent Lifeline: 0114 272 6575
- Parentline: 1300 30 1300
- Parent Help Line: 1-800-668-6868
If you constantly feel overwhelmed and the feeling doesn’t go away, you probably need some outside help. Additionally, if you are feeling like you can’t pick up on your baby’s cues or your baby isn’t alert enough to engage in the early milestone behaviors, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Problems that are identified right away can almost always be solved.
Special circumstances that might require professional help
Physical, mental, or emotional challenges at birth, or soon after, are often traumatic to an infant and can cause your baby’s nervous system to get “stuck.” A nervous system that is stuck will probably have difficulty with regulation, which means the baby will have a hard time settling down.
Special or traumatic circumstances that might cause problems include:
- Premature birth
- Difficult or traumatic birth
- Medical problems or disability
- Adoption or separation from primary caregiver
Where to go for help when your baby won’t stop crying
If your baby is crying or upset often, or unresponsive, you should seek help from your pediatrician or a child development specialist. Your pediatrician should be able to recommend a specialist in early infant behaviors to help you figure out if there is a problem and what to do about it. Alternately, contact the pediatrics branch in your local hospital and ask about services in your area, such as:
- Parenting skills classes. Available in many areas, coaching and education for parents and caregivers can build necessary parenting skills and offer support and advice.
- Support groups. Run by peers rather than professionals, support groups provide a safe environment to share experiences, advice, encouragement, and coping strategies for parents of babies who won’t stop crying.